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House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street | [William Cohan]

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street

In March 2008, Bear Stearns, a swashbuckling 84-year-old financial institution, was forced to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for an outrageously low price in a deal brokered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was desperately trying to prevent the impending catastrophic market crash. But mere months before, an industry-wide boom had "the Bear" clocking a record high stock price. How did a giant investment bank with $18 billion in cash on hand disappear in a mere 10 days?
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Publisher's Summary

In March 2008, Bear Stearns, a swashbuckling 84-year-old financial institution, was forced to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for an outrageously low price in a deal brokered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was desperately trying to prevent an impending catastrophic market crash. But mere months before, an industry-wide boom had "the Bear" clocking a record high stock price. How did a giant investment bank with $18 billion in cash on hand disappear in a mere 10 days?

In this tour de force, Cohan provides a minute-by-minute account of the events that brought America's second Gilded Age to an end. Filled with intimate portraits of the major players, high-end gossip, and smart financial analysis, House of Cards recounts in delicious narrative form the dramatic events behind the fall of Bear Stearns and what it revealed about the financial world's progression from irrational boom to cataclysmic bust. House of Cards is the Rosetta Stone for understanding the dramatic and the unprecedented events that have reshaped Wall Street and global finance in the past two years.

©2009 William D. Cohan; (P)2009 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (340 )
5 star
 (108)
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3.8 (100 )
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  •  
    Geraldine Palmdale, CA, United States 03-28-10
    Geraldine Palmdale, CA, United States 03-28-10

    A book lover with varied interests: history, political and technical and economic thrillers, mysteries, crime dramas, futuristic fantasy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Financial Thriller"

    House of Cards was a fabulous read. It was informative and entertaining -- a swashbuckler of sorts. Though I am not a financial professional, I was able to keep up with the jargon. (I did think though that the printed book would probably have had an index.) The book gave some insight into the workings of investment banks, their products, and the disastrous impact of the subprime mortgages and the housing bubble on those banks. Narrator Alan Sklar captured the excitement of the period. I am recommending the book to those interested in the subject.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Findlay, OH, United States 01-17-10
    Jim Findlay, OH, United States 01-17-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "House of cards"

    Very good book on the recent financial mess. the book goes into great detail. if you are interested in understanding the players and what REALLY happened, listen to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlie newark, CA, USA 08-27-09
    Charlie newark, CA, USA 08-27-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Interesting"

    Interesting but dragged on too long. It was also very technical so if you don't have a business background, this one will put you to sleep.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Morgantown, WV, USA 07-10-09
    Kenneth Morgantown, WV, USA 07-10-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting and easy listen"

    It was hard to turn off as I listened in my car on long trips. Well worth the time. Explains how smart people can be so smart they fail to check on the details. Definitely recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Babiak 05-05-09 Member Since 2008

    tonyvm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wall Street exciting?"

    Very readable and understandable chronicle of Bear Sterns and the rest of Wall Street's effect on credit and the economy.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bassam COLUMBIA, MD, United States 02-27-14
    Bassam COLUMBIA, MD, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Another superb product from the Master"

    Yet another great product from the master of current Wall Street biographer/historian. Mr. Cohan never fails to make the absurd and menial sound so entertaining and absorbing. This one topped the Lazzard saga. I resolved to buying a print edition for keep. Mr. Sklar is absolutely superb in his tone and delivery. I can see Jimmi and Ace talking directly to me. Can't wait for the next one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 01-23-13
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 01-23-13 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A serious achievment"

    Just wow! That's all there is to say. Through painstaking interviews and research, the author constructs the history of this bizarre firm, Bear Sterns, how the personalities of its CEOs determined its future from the twenties on and then how within a week it all fell apart, wiping out billions in wealth almost overnight. Though it is a book about the history of a banking firm, it has an urgency and pacing more reminiscent of a thriller. The people come alive on the pages and the incredible hubris and greed that overwhelms them will shock you, the infighting will excite you and the collapse will astonish you.

    The writing is neat and evocative, the reader is amazing and the story itself is almost too eccentric to be real. But it is, and it will help you understand the financial crisis in America and how it came about.

    Definitely get this book, it's so much all at once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Delray Beach, FL, United States 07-15-12
    Randy Delray Beach, FL, United States 07-15-12 Member Since 2010
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    "One of my favorite audiobooks"

    I could not stop listening to the book. In my car, at home, it didn't matter. Great story of a very tumultuous time in US History.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Bryan San Diego, CA, United States 12-22-11
    Bryan San Diego, CA, United States 12-22-11 Member Since 2011

    I've been listening to audio books for well over twenty years (even before audible was available). Secretly, I wish I could be a narrator.

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    "Interesting but Unentertaining"

    Not the best book to listen to. The author was too verbose and didn't keep the story moving along. I found myself fast forwarding just to get to the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 05-23-11
    Carol Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 05-23-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Very Detailed but Good"

    I like unabridged books because I like the detail of "being there." I won't say listening to this was easy - the material is complex and dozens of characters are involved - but it did frequently have me on the edge of my chair.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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